Vitamin D - A gift from the Sun!
It's true that overexposure to the sun can lead to skin damage. But there's a flip side to that story: Not all sun exposure is excessive. Yes, you CAN have your sun and go burn-free, too. In fact, you should make a point of including a little sunshine in your routine every day.
Somone we should all admire and read is Michael F. Holick, MD, and his new book, The Vitamin D Solution: This is a 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problem, sun phobia and the use of sunscreens have prohibited our bodies from making "the sunshine vitamin" that is critical to just about all areas of health. Dr. Holick is an expert who is an expert ahead of his time. He has been writing and talking about the benefits of vitamin D for years though it has only recently come into the forefront of medicine and research. Among the facts his book shares:
Why do you need vitamin D so desperately? A huge percentage of us is deficient, even those who live in sunny climates.
What can it do for your body? Almost everything! Vitamin D contributes to the health of
• bones (by preventing osteoporosis and fractures),
• cells (by warding off cancers, infectious diseases, and asthma),
• organs (by guarding against heart disease, diabetes, and tooth loss),
• the autoimmune system (by decreasing risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and Type 1 diabetes), and
• the brain (by staving off depression, Alzheimer's, and dementia).
In addition, this hormone supports muscle strength and helps prevent mood-related health problems (PMS and sleeping disorders).
Our bodies don't make vitamin D naturally unless we spend time in the sun responsibly.
So...it's really OK to sit in the sun?
It's best to consult Dr. Holick's book, which contains sun exposure recommendation charts for different skin types and geographic locations. But in general, Dr. Holick suggests 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your arms and legs (avoid sun on your face) from 10am to 2pm, 2 to 3 times per week, is very beneficial. And inlanders need not despair: No beach is necessary. Sitting outside at lunchtime will do! If you are wearing a bathing suit, though, remember that more of your skin is exposed. This means more opportunity to get your vitamin D and less time required in the sun (approximately 7-8 minutes). And then the sunscreen goes on if burning is a possibility.
Remember, the rule is "spend time in the sun responsibly"!
When it comes to sun and skin, it doesn't take much effort to reap great health gains. Take just a moment to answer two questions:
Do you have just a few minutes a day that could be spent soaking up some vitamin-producing rays?
Or, on the other hand, are you compromising your health by spending too much time unprotected against the damage the sun can cause?
Small adjustments go a long way. Commit yourself to adopting them today!